espite the brevity of Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke, when he insisted his team could still “save the Ashes” after a humiliating first day in the fourth test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday, it was not
It was a day so dismal that it forced Clarke to hasten the announcement of his retirement from international cricket.
Clarke’s men were skittled out for just 60 in 18.3 overs – the shortest completed first innings in test history – after losing the toss in overcast but not totally “unplayable” conditions.
Stuart Broad took a test-best eight wickets for 15 runs in 9.3 overs on his Nottinghamshire home ground as the fast-medium bowler became only the fifth English cricketer to take 300 test wickets.
By stumps, Joe Root’s unbeaten 124 – his second century of the series – had taken England to 274 for four and a lead of 214 runs.
This match was mockingly dubbed as one whose match report could be wrapped up “in 140 characters on Twitter”.
A great deal of fun has been poked at the Aussies since their dismal first day. (
Yesterday, England wrapped up the test, defeating Australia by an innings and 78 runs early on the third day to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
The victory also saw England regaining the prized Ashes after they were whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in 2013/14.
It also gave them a fourth successive Ashes series win on home soil, with Australia’s last Ashes triumph in Britain in 2001.
Going into this series, Australia were the secondranked test team, with England ranked well below them, in sixth. To add to the shock, England performed particularly poorly at the ODI World Cup earlier this year, while Australia won it for a record fifth time.
The manner of the win was also surprising because England’s star fast-bowler, James Anderson, had been ruled out of the match with an injury. Ben Stokes had to fill in, and did so brilliantly.
After Australia collapsed to 60 all out in 111 balls on Thursday’s first day, England in reply made 391 for nine declared, Joe Root eventually top-scoring with 130 on Friday.
In Australia’s second innings, all-rounder Stokes took a test-best six for 36 before Durham team-mate Mark Wood, a fast bowler, completed the win when last man Nathan Lyon played on to leave Australia 253 all out.
Adam Voges was 51 not out, with Australia losing their last three wickets in 40 minutes’ play on Saturday morning.
The victory gave England their second successive win inside three days after they beat Australia by eight wickets to win the third test at Edgbaston last week.
Saturday’s result also saw England end a sevenmatch sequence of alternating wins and losses as they achieved back-to-back wins in test cricket for the first time this year.
The series concludes at The Oval in south London, where the fifth test begins on August 20.
Clarke had refused to be pulled down by Thursday’s embarrassing trouncing, when he would only say: “I’m really disappointed with how the day has turned out, but it’s only one day down.” He pointed out that Australia’s batsmen had once again been undone by the sideways movement of the ball.
“I think we were mentally up for the fight. Obviously it doesn’t look like we were, but I don’t want to take anything away from Stuart Broad, and England were brilliant in the field.”
Clarke’s wretched Ashes series continued as he fell for 10, caught at first slip by England captain Alastair Cook off Broad.
It left him with a meagre series total of 104 runs in seven innings and meant that, in his past 29 knocks at this level the 34-year-old, unquestionably one of the best batsmen of his generation, had reached 25 only six times.
“We tried to defend and got out, and we tried to play shots and got out,” said Clarke, whose career has recently been hampered by hamstring trouble in addition to a long-standing back complaint.
Clarke took the unusual step for a test skipper who hasn’t enjoyed a major personal performance of fronting up to the media after the first day.
“That’s as tough a [set of ] batting conditions as I’ve faced,” Clarke told reporters.
Asked if this had been the worst day of his career, a rueful Clarke said: “It’s up there.
“That and being bowled out for 47 against South Africa [in Cape Town in 2011] is not a nice one to remember.”
Yesterday, the skipper announced he would retire from international cricket after the fifth Ashes test against England at The Oval later this month.
“I will have one more test and that is the end of my career,” said Clarke during the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I am retiring from international cricket. I don’t want to jump ship now so I will have one more go at The Oval,” he added after reports in Australian media earlier on Saturday that he was about to end his Australian career.
Clarke has made 28 test centuries, one short of Australian batting great Donald Bradman’s tally in his 114-match career.
Yesterday’s defeat saw him become the first Australian in more than a century to lose four successive Ashes series in England. His test batting average also dipped below 50 for the first time in years. Is Andre Berto being used as no more than a stepping stone for Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr to equal Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record of 49 wins?
Berto will challenge Mayweather for the World Boxing Council welterweight and World Boxing Association super welterweight titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 12.
Mayweather is unbeaten in 48 professional fights and looking to win one last bout to match Marciano’s enviable feat.
“Money” made it clear he was done with boxing and would only mount one more title defence after defeating Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao by unanimous points decision in a controversial title defence in May.
That fight was the richest bout in the sport’s history.
But the question remains whether Mayweather’s final foe, Berto, will offer the flamboyant champion a real test in the ring or if he will merely play a bit part to allow Money to collect a few more easy dollars to see out his contract with Showtime before he bids farewell to a sport he has admitted he no longer enjoys.
A look at the record suggests Berto is a journeyman who is being used to push Mayweather to greatness.
He seems to pose no serious threat to the champion.
Besides being unheard of, Berto has not fought any notable foe in a career spanning 33 professional fights – with 30 wins and three defeats.
He lost to Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesús Soto Karass.
Incidentally, Ortiz and Guerrero were beaten at Mayweather’s hands.
The 31-year-old Berto, who fights out of Winter Haven in Florida in the US, holds the interim World Boxing Association welterweight title, which he won by beating Josesito López in California in March.
Berto also won the International Boxing Federation crown, which he took from Slovenian Jan Zaveck in 2011.
No one seems to give Berto much of a chance, but what a twist in the tale it would be if he won.
TAKE THAT Andre Berto (right), who will be fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr, lands a punch on Josesito López in their welterweight bout in March. He won the fight by knockout